Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is privately telling political insiders that he intends to mount a full-fledged White House run in two years time.
The rising star, who’s already challenged Nancy Pelosi for congressional leadership, casts himself as an anomaly in the Democratic Party: an elected official from the predominately white, blue collar, and increasingly Republican Rust Belt who knows how to win back Reagan Democrats.
According to multiple sources, Ryan is putting together a campaign staff and working on assembling the necessary infrastructure to launch a serious bid.
Per The Intercept:
Ryan, who has served in Congress since 2002 as a representative from the 13th District in Ohio, which covers Youngstown and the surrounding area, has cast himself as an opportunity for the party to try and win back the Midwestern votes it has gradually shed over the last decade. A spokesperson for Ryan declined to comment.
The 13th Congressional District is emblematic of the challenges that Democrats face in the Rust Belt. As a profile in the New Republic noted, between 2001 and 2013, two of the largest counties in Ryan’s district, Trumbull and Mahoning, shed nearly 19,000 manufacturing jobs. Perhaps relatedly, the district gradually shifted from strongly Democratic to one where Republicans have gained ground. In 2016, Trumbull went to Donald Trump — the first time the county went Republican since before 1972.
Ryan’s district is one of the few poor, majority-white districts that is represented by a Democrat. But he won’t be running on a stereotypical working-class persona; instead, he believes his path to the White House runs through the “yoga vote.”
Ryan has long been a champion of mindfulness, meditation, and similar pursuits, and has even created a “Quiet Time Caucus” in the House of Representatives. James Gimian, the publisher of Mindful magazine who knows Ryan, said he isn’t sure whether Ryan will run for president, but that the yoga vote has gone mainstream in recent years. “The so-called yoga voters are the kind of folks who realize that while they grew up with their mom saying, ‘Pay attention,’ nobody trained them in how to pay attention and use their mind to focus on what’s important,” he said. “That’s a growing population — it’s no longer just Lululemon yoga women.” He said that anybody who is negotiating the “emotional landmine of modern day living” could be someone Ryan’s message would resonate with.
Aside from his fixation on mindfulness meditation, Ryan’s bid will likely revolve around his unproven theory that the increasingly liberal Democratic Party can bring historically blue states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania back into the Democrat column.
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